When you’re looking for entertainment, YouTube is a great place to start. Here you’ll find everything from music videos and documentaries to films and TV programmes but you are limited to watching when you have an internet connection.
There are various tools you can use to download YouTube videos so you can watch them offline or transfer them to other devices, but TubeBox is a recent discovery of mine that I wanted to share with you.
This free program is entirely separate from your web browser and it enables you to navigate through YouTube and search for content you’re interested in using a standalone app. But more than this, you can also convert the videos you download into a variety of different formats so they are optimized for playback on a range of different devices. It can also be used to download videos from a number of other web sites including Vimeo, Metacafe and more.
Installing TubeBox is a process that is more fraught with dangers that might be considered normal. We’re all quite used to the idea of software including bundled browser toolbars but TubeBox takes thing to a new level. There are a huge number of apps that the installer tries to crowbar onto your hard drive is quite staggering.
Grab yourself a copy of the program from the TubeBox web site and start the installer. Despite the fact you’ve downloaded the English version of the software, the installer interface is in German. Click the Weiter button to continue and then take care as in addition to the main program there’s also a browser toolbar, video tool, shopping utility and a music app bundled – just make sure you untick all of the boxes or click Decline to avoid installing the extras.
TubeBox In Action
Getting started with TubeBox is a piece of cake. Enter your search terms into the search box, use the drop down menu to choose the web site you’d like to work with and use the check boxes to indicate if you’d like to limit your search to HD or 3D video – these options are not available for all sites.
Results are displayed to the left of the screen and by clicking any of the videos in the list you can view a preview to the right. This enables you to check to see that a video is what it claims to be and also gives you the opportunity to compare videos to see which is the best quality. You can download videos one at a time, but if there are several you are interested and want to convert using the same settings, you can select multiple videos by ticking the box next to them in the left hand results list. You can start the download of a video by hitting the Download button to the lower right of the screen, or grab just the audio by clicking MP3 instead.
This is a useful feature, but it may well be the case that you don’t want the video in its original format. There’s also the option of converting videos to different formats – just click the arrow to the right of the Convert button. You can then choose between saving the video in one of various formats, or specify the device you intend to play it back on to have the most suitable settings selected for you.
Move to the Downloads tab to the upper right of the TubeBox window and you can keep an eye on downloads as they come in. this section of the program is particularly useful when you are downloading several videos at once. You can use the button at the bottom left of the screen to move downloads up and down the list so you can change the priority of downloads, and by hovering the mouse over anything that is downloading, you can gain access to options such as deleting the file or restarting the download.
At the top of the window you’ll find an option that’s sure to come in useful if you are downloading a very large number of videos overnight. You can opt to have your computer powered down when all of the files transfers are complete to help save a little electricity.
While TubeBox has been designed to be used separately from your web browser, there is scope for a little integration. Move to the Linkgrabber tab of the program and ensure that the ‘Insert links from clipboard automatically’ is ticked. Now, whenever you’re browsing YouTube or other video sites outside of TubeBox, you can simply copy the URL and it will be automatically added to the LInkgrabber list ready for you to deal with later.
Do you have another tool that you like to use to grab online videos so you can watch them whenever you want? How do you convert videos ready for watching on your smartphone or tablet? Let us know in the comments below.